Nearly half of American voters oppose Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination after sex assault claims against Trump pick, new poll says

  • A total of 48 percent of Americans now say Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's embattled nominee for the Supreme Court, should not be confirmed by the Senate, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
  • Nearly seven out of every 10 American voters favor the decision last week by Trump to order the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh, after three women made public their claims of sexual misconduct by him as a high school and college student.
  • Women, blacks and Hispanics overwhelmingly oppose Kavanaugh, but white men tend to favor his confirmation.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh pauses while delivering his opening statement during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, September 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. 
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
Judge Brett Kavanaugh pauses while delivering his opening statement during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, September 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. 

Almost half of American voters say Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's embattled nominee for the Supreme Court, should not be confirmed by the Senate, according to a new poll released Monday.

And nearly seven out of every 10 American voters favor Trump's decision last week to order the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh on the heels of three women making public their claims of sexual misconduct by him as a high school and college student.

A total of 42 percent of voters now favor Kavanaugh's confirmation — up 1 percentage point since earlier in September, the last time the Quinnipiac University poll had surveyed that question. But 48 percent now oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation, the new survey found. That's six percentage points higher than the opposition recorded in the last poll.

The survey is the latest to show Kavanaugh's approval underwater. His support was dwindling even before the sexual assault claims emerged.

The big swing against Kavanaugh in the new Quinnipiac poll came from independents.

In the prior poll, independent voters supported Kavanaugh's nomination by 45 percent to 39 percent. But the new poll found that 49 percent of independents now oppose the nomination. Just 39 percent support it.

The same new poll also shows wide splits in how men and women, Republicans and Democrats, and different racial groups view Kavanaugh after Ford and two other women accused him of misconduct.

Women oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation by 55 percent to 37 percent.

However, men as a group support his elevation to the high court, by a margin of 49 percent to 40 percent.

White voters support Kavanaugh's nomination by a margin of 51 percent to 40 percent. Black voters, on the other hand, overwhelmingly oppose him, with 81 percent saying the Senate should not confirm him. Just 11 percent say he should be confirmed.

And Hispanic voters oppose the nomination by 65 percent to 30 percent, the poll found.

At the same time, 48 percent of Americans said they believe Blasey Ford. Forty-one percent believe Kavanaugh's denial of her claims, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

"Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is winning the trust of American voters, who overwhelmingly believe she is honest. But about half of voters say Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the target of a smear campaign," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"There is a very sharp divide between men and women on credibility," Malloy said. "What voters agree on is letting the FBI try to sort out the events in the pursuit of the truth."

Voters also tended to agree on how badly both Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats are handling the accusations against Kavanaugh.

A total of 52 percent of voters disapprove of the Democrats' handling of the issue, compared to just 38 percent who approve. And 56 percent of voters disapprove of Senate Republicans' handling of the matter, with just 33 percent of voters approving.

Forty-nine percent of voters disapprove of how Trump has handled the allegations, versus 42 percent approving.